Waste Management Phoenix Open 2018: Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau Tied

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 02:  Rickie Fowler makes a birdie putt on the 10th hole during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 2, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open rolled on Friday with Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau tied for the lead with matching scores at 10 under par. 

Fowler and DeChambeau have been locked in their own two-man golf duel over the first 36 holes. They have posted identical scores of 66 in the first and second round to hold a modest lead over Daniel Berger and Chez Reavie, who are tied for third at nine under par. 

Bill Haas, who was in the lead after the opening round with a seven-under 64, fell down the leaderboard into a tie for 19th place after a disappointing 72 on Friday. 

Here's how the entire leaderboard shakes out after two days at TPC Scottsdale:

After missing the cut at least week's Farmers Insurance Open, Fowler has rebounded nicely. He's been terrific this season, excluding that one tournament hiccup, with three straight top-four finishes at the OHL Classic, Hero World Challenge and Tournament of Champions. 

He seems to be relishing both the moment he was having on Friday and where his game currently stands, as evidenced by this moment at the tee on No. 16:

The front nine, in particular, was where Fowler shined in the second round. He birdied four of the first six holes and made the turn at 31. 

Fowler is firing on all cylinders through two rounds. He's crushing the ball off the tee with an average driving distance of 327 yards and 77.8 greens in regulation on Friday, and he's not missing putts:

DeChambeau hasn't been intimidated. Following a modest start with one birdie and no bogeys on the front nine, the California native hit his groove after making the turn. 

It wasn't until the final hole that DeChambeau was able to catch Fowler by connecting on his sixth birdie of the day. His ability to get on the greens in regulation (88.9 percent) helped offset a pedestrian putting average (0.45 strokes gained). 

Following a modest 70 in the first round, Phil Mickelson put himself in contention by tying for the lowest second-round score with a 65. Lefty heads into the weekend as part of an 11-way tie for eighth place at seven under. 

Given Mickelson's history of posting low rounds at the Phoenix Open, his showing on Friday doesn't come as a surprise:

Mickelson made his big move on his final six holes. He hit five birdies during that stretch, including sticking this tee shot on No. 16 just 10 feet from the hole:

On the other side of the equation, things didn't work out well for Jordan Spieth. He missed his first cut of the season after shooting even par through two rounds, including a 70 on Friday. 

Per Justin Ray of Golf Channel, Spieth had a good run of consecutive cuts made dating back to last season:

While it's still very early in the season, Spieth's performance has been trending in the wrong direction. He followed up consecutive top-10 finishes at the Hero World Challenge and Tournament of Champions by coming in 18th at the Sony Open three weeks ago. 

Despite not having Spieth in the mix this weekend, there is no shortage of storylines. 

A total of 16 players are within three shots of the lead. It's unclear if Fowler or DeChambeau will blink first, and Mickelson has proven himself capable of posting a low score, so he's very much in the mix with 36 holes to play. 

     

Stats via PGATour.com

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